Smokey Sweet Potato Slow Cooker Stew

The weather has taken a recent turn for the worse in terms of temperature lately. Which I would be entirely upset about except for the fact that it has inspired a ton of slow cooker recipes. I’ve been experimenting, freezing some, and just going immediately to the slow cooker with others. Since I made a (very small) investment into a small slow cooker last year, I’ve been so happy with my decision. It makes life so much easier – especially during the week. I don’t know about you, but when it starts to get dark at 4pm, by the time I’m home from the office  a few hours later it feels like it must be 11pm by then. I’m in no mood for anything complicated. I want a hot meal, a glass of wine, and my couch. Pronto. So spending a couple hours on Sunday to chop, measure, and seal ingredients in mason jars was a small price to pay for ready-when-you-walk-in-the-door meals all week.

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One of these meals I actually made start to finish on Sunday. I was thinking about making chili, but didn’t quite have all the ingredients on hand. Instead, I used whatever I had in the cupboards and fridge to make a stew. A chili-inspired stew, but a stew nonetheless. I’m a big football fan and what goes better with Sunday night football than a hot, spicy bowl of tomatoes and beans? Add in a beer and you’re completely set. (I also like to use these moments to remind R how lucky he is he has a football watching crock-pot cooking beer-drinking girl. He usually responds with an eye roll.)

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I had a few sweet potatoes lying around and I figured they would make an interesting addition to my faux chili – so I decided to use them as the main ingredient. I added in two types of beans – kidney and northern white – and some peppers, onion, and fire roasted canned diced tomatoes. These all helped to not only give the stew a semi-chili feel, but also really lived up the colors in the dish. I love any meal that’s full of colors. For some reason it makes me feel like I’m getting more nutrients, or maybe a better range of nutrients. And it’s just prettier to look at that way.

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With the addition of some cumin, chili spice, garlic and liquid smoke, this stew went from just pretty to delicious. I’ve never used liquid smoke before in a stew and I have to say, it really made an interesting addition. I’ll likely be adding this to more recipes in the future. It’s just enough to add a complexity and depth to the stew, but not overpowering to where you immediately know there’s smoke in the soup. R couldn’t pinpoint what the flavor was, but he said he loved it. It was at that point I knew I had a winner on my hands.

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This recipe made enough for two whole slow cooker batches for me, but I have a smaller slow cooker (for 2 people). If you have a bigger one, you can use the entire recipe as-is. If you’ve got a small one like mine, just mix all the ingredients together (minus the water and tomatoes) first, and then just put half in the slow cooker and the other half in a large mason jar for freezing. You’ll get about 4 servings out of a small batch, so 8 servings if you’re putting the entire recipe into the crockpot at once.

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Another reason I love my slow cooker is that all the flavors of a dish really get time to mesh together and I feel like they get more flavorful the longer it’s cooking. I put this stew on in the late morning and by the time we ate dinner with football, all the spices had been hanging around together for about 6 hours – enough time to make the apartment smell delicious and make us seriously hungry.

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I like to top mine with a little bit of fresh cilantro and some shredded cheddar Daiya cheese, but sour cream or chives would also do the trick. R is never one to enjoy leftovers, whereas I could eat the same lunch for a week. So for one serving of leftovers I added about 1/2 or 3/4 cup of cooked brown rice and turned the stew into a pseudo jambalaya. It was a quick and simple way to send him into work with a lunch that didn’t seem like he’d eaten it the night before. I added some chopped cilantro and green onions to the top and I just may have fooled him into thinking I made a new meal just for him. (It will be our little secret…)

Smokey Sweet Potato Stew Beans Chili Girl Eats Greens_0016So if you’re in the mood for a hearty, goes-well-with-football-and-cold-weather dish, break out the slow cooker and give this stew a try. Or make it into jambalaya. If you’re so inclined. And bundle up! It’s getting rough out there.

Smokey Sweet Potato Slow Cooker Stew {vegan & gluten-free}

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped sweet potato
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 15 ounce can northern white beans (or navy beans or Cannellini beans)
  • 2 15 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (and their juice)
  • 1-2 15 ounces of water (just fill up the can used for the tomatoes – and decide how thick or thin you want the stew)
  • 1 small jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

What You’ll Do:

  1. Chop the sweet potato, onion and peppers
  2. If you’re making the full batch (you have a large slow cooker) add directly to the slow cooker. Otherwise, put them all in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the beans and spices (and if you’re making a half batch, mix well then separate half the veggies into the slow cooker)
  4. Add the diced tomatoes (1 can for 1/2 batch, 2 cans for full) and water to the slow cooker
  5. On low heat, let the stew cook in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours. (If you’re making half the batch, put the remaining veggies in a mason jar and toss in your freezer for whenever you’ll want to make it. All you’ll need to do is add a can of tomatoes and some water.)
  6. After the stew is cooked, top with fresh cilantro and Daiya cheddar cheese (optional). Serve with crusty bread or rice. Enjoy!

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2 responses to “Smokey Sweet Potato Slow Cooker Stew

    • Thank you for swinging by! And I thought that too for a while – what to do with a slow cooker sans meat. Turns out there’s a ton of recipes to make – I’ll be sure to keep on posting some too. Enjoy! 🙂

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